It's still early January and already it's been a busy year on the international news front.
To help us parse out the biggest news around the globe, we turn to our foreign policy contributor, Art Cyr, who is director of the Clausen Center for World Business at Carthage College.
He lists the top three stories.
- Former U.S. defense secretary Robert Gates is making news for his forthcoming memoir that is critical of his former boss – the current President of the United States.
- There are signs that the Egyptian people may be adapting to the country's less-democratic military leadership.
- Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman is continuing his unique and unlikely role as a would-be ambassador to North Korea. Rodman and a group of fellow former NBA athletes played a game this week in North Korea in honor of leader Kim Jong Un's 31st birthday - much to the chagrin of both government and basketball officials in this country.
But Cyr says despite the swell of publicity surrounding Rodman's link with the closed off country, the trip itself probably has little impact on the frosty relationship between Washington and Pyongyang.
"We live in a celebrity culture - the media is, if anything, even more celebrity-focused, in terms of what should be the serious media, than even was the case in the '30s, and '40s, and '50s," he says. "I think he's a good indicator of how things have changed for better and for worse. But I don't of him having any influence."
Art Cyr is Clausen Professor of Political Economy and World Business and director of the Clausen Center for World Business at Carthage College in Kenosha.